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Oil slips below $99 a barrel at close

Benchmark U.S. oil for February delivery dropped 41 cents to close at $98.91 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The Associated Press

12/23/2013

NEW YORK  — The price of oil slipped a bit Monday after gaining more than $2 last week.

Benchmark U.S. oil for February delivery dropped 41 cents to close at $98.91 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading was thinner than usual because of the approaching holidays.

Last week, oil rose nearly 3 percent, largely because of signs of improvement in the U.S. economy. Positive economic news and a corresponding increase in demand have some analysts predicting that oil will soon top $100 a barrel for the first time since mid-October.

Brent crude, a benchmark used to price international crudes used by many U.S. refiners, fell 21 cents to $111.56 in London.

In other energy futures trading:

— Wholesale gasoline was flat at $2.78 a gallon.

— Heating oil lost 2 cents to $3.06 a gallon.

— Natural gas added 5 cents to $4.46 per thousand cubic feet.

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